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Range DescriptionThe distribution of this species is very unclear (see taxonomic note). The type was collected in 1929 at Ban Muangyo (=Muong Yo, now locally known as Ban Yo) in northern Lao PDR, in Phongsali Province (Osgood 1932). The only additional localities pertain to a few specimens proposed by analysis of mtDNA to refer to M. rooseveltorum, found at 19°49’N, 103°45’E in northern Lao PDR (Amato et al., 1999a, 2000), and even these cannot be taken as certain, in case more than one species shares similar mtDNA. A female found in the Xe Sap NPA in southern Lao PDR by R. Steinmetz and Tanya Chanard in the late 1990s shows many morphological similarities to M. rooseveltorum (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Published range descriptions (e.g. Groves and Schaller 2000; Grubb 2005) are hypothetical because under current uncertainty, there is no way objectively to determine the range of any taxon within this species-complex, including of M. rooseveltorum itself (see taxonomic note).
Many incomplete specimens, predominantly skulls and partial skins (largely not mutually associated), and camera-trap photos, all of which present characters apparently diagnostic or characteristic of the M. rooseveltorum species-complex, have been collected over a large range of northern Indochina highlands (Lao PDR and Viet Nam), the northern and central Annamite range of Indochina (Lao PDR and Viet Nam), and northern Myanmar. A few specimens at the Viet Nam National University, Hanoi, suggest a presence east of the Red River. Records of M. putaoensis from northeastern India (Datta et al. 2003), initially identified morphologically, have been confirmed by recent genetic analysis of five specimens as M. putaoensis (James et al. press). There has been insufficient work in the southern Annamites of Viet Nam and in northern parts of Thailand to rule out presence of the species-complex there, which is possible (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2006). Ma et al. (1986) listed M. rooseveltorum for China (seemingly for the first time) with the following statement 'M. lachrymans teesdalei described by Lydekker (1915) as having relatively small preorbital pit and premaxillae separated from nasals should be M. rooseveltorum'. Although Lydekker's animal is definitely M. reevesi, Ma et al. (1986) were correct in M. rooseveltorum having the said features. Thus, some records identified as M. reevesi teesdalei in southern China may in fact not be of that taxon and could, given the features of this 1986 description, refer to animals of the M. rooseveltorum complex. Presence of the species-complex in southern China is extremely likely as specimens and photographs of animals in the M. rooseveltorum complex in both Lao PDR and Viet Nam have been obtained close to the Chinese border (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008).
The camera-trap and specimen evidence suggests that in some, perhaps many, areas of Indochina two (or more) taxa within this species-complex are sympatric, or at least parapatric in a mosaic pattern. The situation is less clear in Myanmar, although the presence of multiple taxa there is also possible (see account for M. putaoensis). Contrary to various statements in the literature (e.g. Amato et al. 1999b) animals of this species-complex are not highly localised, but rather appear to be widespread, although this does not rule out that there might be individual species with small ranges. M. rooseveltorum may yet be found to occur throughout the range of the complex, but equally it could be much more localised. Specifically, despite the molecular genetic analysis of a relatively large number of specimens from Myanmar and adjacent India (Amato et al. 1999a; James et al. press), there is no suggestion of animals with DNA similar to the M. rooseveltorum holotype in these countries.
There have been various unsubstantiated claimed localities for species-level identifications of both M. rooseveltorum and M. truongsonensis in the grey literature. Notably, an animal observed in captivity at ‘Lak Sao’ (= Ban Lak-20), Lao PDR, 18°20'N, 106°00'E and identified by Amato et al. (1999a) as M. rooseveltorum, should not at present be identified; this animal presented several key external characteristics at variance with the holotype of M. rooseveltorum (Timmins 1996; Amato et al. 2000; R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). However, M. rooseveltorum may well occur in this area, because there are camera-trapped animals and one sight record, with distinctive reddish pelage (rather than the darker, less red, and more contrasting pelage assumed to be shown by M. truongsonensis; but note that the pelage of the nominal taxon M. puhoatensis is unknown), from a number of localities in the Northern Annamites of both Lao PDR and Viet Nam (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008).
Ma et al. (1986) listed M. rooseveltorum for China, but the identification was revised to M. reevesi by Groves and Grubb (1990) who apparently examined four purchased skins of this species in the Kunming Institute of Zoology (thus extending this species range significantly to the west). There is no description of the skins in the above sources, and given the current understanding of muntjac systematics it would likely be hard to diagnose the specific identity of the skins (especially if heads and tails were incomplete or missing) without molecular analysis, their species identity is thus probably best treated as indeterminate at present.
The type localities for available names in this species-complex are:
1. M. rooseveltorum: Ban Muangyo, Phongsaly Province, Lao PDR, ca. 21°31'N, 101°51'E (Osgood 1932).
2. M. truongsonensis: Viet Nam, "in the west of Quang Nam province"; "collected from four houses in three locations in Hien District, West Quang Nam Province, Viet Nam. The three locations are: Hien, the district capital, A Tin village, and A Plo village (15°56'59''N, 107°34'18''E)" (P. M. Giao et al. 1998). Although this information is not given in the original description (Nguyen An Quang Ha 1997) it can reasonably be used to restrict the more general indications in the original description because there is no doubt that the two sources refer to the same collected material.
3. M. puhoatensis: the Pu Hoat area in Que Phong District, Nghe An Province, Viet Nam (Binh Chau 1997).
4. M. putaoensis: “purchased … at Atanga village, 30 km east of Putao (27°21'N, 97°24'E), northern Myanmar” (Amato et al. 1999b).